The town of Ceres — known affectionately as the Eden of the Cape — is surrounded by a lush valley and dramatic mountain ranges that are often dusted in snow in the winter months.
Named after the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility, Ceres is well-known for its export-quality fruit production and natural beauty. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, the small town is in the heart of one of the country’s most fertile valleys and is loved for its winter snow, pretty cherry farms, and abundance of outdoor activities.
Explore the area
Ceres is a great spot for those who love the outdoors, and the landscape really is striking. The Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve, located around 35 kilometres from town, has some great mountain biking and hiking trails, as well as trail running routes, kloofing and abseiling. In the winter months, it’s possible to go snowboarding and ice climbing when the conditions are right. If that’s not enough adventure for you, Ceres Zipslide Adventures offers eight zipline slides varying from 100 to 290 metres in length. The Skurweberg mountains and surrounding rock formations form a dramatic backdrop to this fun activity.
If you want to enjoy the landscape but prefer something more relaxed, there are a number of scenic drives in the area surrounding Ceres. Michell’s Pass connects the town to Tulbagh, Worcester and the Breede River Valley, while the Katbakkies Pass traces what was once the old sheep-trekking route over the Skurweberg mountains and connects Ceres with the Tankwa Karoo. Both of these make great day trips, as does the Gydo Pass between Ceres and Citrusdal.
Enjoy the food
Not far from Ceres, on the road towards Worcester, is Bosjes Kombuis. A beautiful space with glass walls, high ceilings and an outside wall that features a Delft-inspired mural designed by Cape Town artists Lucie de Moyencourt and Michael Chandler, the restaurant is a great spot for lunch if you’re out exploring the surrounding area. The menu features delicious, warming options that are ideal for a winter’s afternoon — expect dishes like slow roast pork neck with braised winter veg and polenta; squash risotto with organum and gruyere; and warm beetroot, rocket, gorgonzola and walnut salad.
In the town itself, Kole & Deeg started off as a pop-up but has become a local hit. The bakery-café serves up fresh breads, pastries and roosterkoek along with some breakfast and lunch dishes. Some wintery favourites include their butternut soup served with toasted roosterbrood and their crispy hot gourmet waffles topped with options like dark chocolate mousse, salted caramel popcorn, and berry compote.
Stay a while
If you’re heading to Ceres to see the snow this winter, you’ll find a number of cosy spots to stay, especially if you’re looking for a farm experience. Located on Koelfontein Farm, Die Kloof is a self-catering cottage that sleeps six people in three bedrooms. The cottage is a beautiful historic building and comes fully equipped for a comfortable weekend away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The lounge has a free-standing fireplace for snowy evenings, and there’s even a wood-fired hot tub outside if you’re feeling brave.
Just six kilometres from town, Fairfield Mountain Cottages are surrounded by orchards on a working fruit farm at the foot of the Skurweberg mountains. The three cottages, which range in size, boast beautiful mountain views and are all pet-friendly. The farm has designated hiking routes and is home to wildlife such as duiker, mongoose, meerkat and klipspringer as well as an abundance of birdlife.
For more info on things to do and places to stay visit www.ceres.org.za